Friday, 24 May 2013

La Maielletta and Beyond

As beautiful as the foothills of the Majella are, if you want to explore the high peaks then head up to Passo Lanciano and La Maielletta - the masts that you can see from Kokopelli camping field.  

It takes about 25 minutes to drive up, or about 3 hours to cycle.  The climb is steady and steep, but the road is good and there are plenty of switchbacks to test your technical skills on the descent.  

With the highest point accessible by road lying at around 2000m asl you will have a respectable 1630m climb.  
Passo Lanciano is a key ski resort in the winter, so the roads are kept open and clear.  There are a couple of bars up there, plus a hotel, restaurant and spa.  The bars (only open at weekends outside peak seasons) serve good, honest nosh (including sausages cooked over the open fire in the winter) and, as such, are a favourite with hikers, bikers and cyclists at the weekend.

Every Sunday there is a small market, and throughout August the ski lifts run from Passo Lanciano up to La Maielletta.  
This summer (2013) the National Park will be running a free shuttle bus between the two ski resorts (complete with tourist guide) during the weekend of 13/14 July: 8am - 11am and 3pm - 6pm.  (

On the way up, just beyond the turning to Pretoro, there’s also a wolf sanctuary.  Although terribly sad to see these majestic creatures in captivity, remind yourselves they are there because, for various reasons, they are unable to be returned to the wild.

The hiking routes from the top are endless.  You can do anything from just an hour’s stroll taking in the incredible views to a full day’s hike up to Monte Amaro.  At 2793m asl Monte Amaro is the second highest peak of the whole Apennine range.  

Be aware, however, that these are serious mountains and should only be tackled by experienced hikers.  Weather conditions can change in an instant and it’s very easy to get caught out.  The higher peaks are also usually snowbound between November and May, so do take advice before going.
For our campers, if you’d like to explore these peaks, have a look at the Majella map (on sale in the barn) and come and have a chat with us as we’d be more than happy to advise.  
If you'd like to start at the top and walk down through one of the incredibly stunning gorges, for a small fee we'd be very happy to drop you off at the top and pick you up from either Bocca di Valle or Pennapiedimonte.  There are some great bars and restaurants in both places, so we could always pick you up after you’ve revived over a cold beer and a bite to eat.  

You can even walk all the way back down to Serramonacesca and Kokopelli, taking in the eremo di San Onofrio, the Abbazia di San Liberatore and the Torre Polegra along the way (approx 15km).